With 7,253 known glaciers, including 543 in the Chitral Valley, there is more glacial ice in Pakistan than anywhere on Earth outside the polar regions, according to various studies. Those glaciers feed rivers that account for about 75 percent of the stored-water supply in the country of at least 200 million.
But as in many other parts of the world, researchers say, Pakistan’s glaciers are receding, especially those at lower elevations, including here in the Hindu Kush mountain range in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Among the causes cited by scientists: diminished snowfall, higher temperatures, heavier summer rainstorms and rampant deforestation.
1) Baltoro Glacier
The glacier at 63km in length is one of the largest land glaciers on Earth. It can be accessed through Gilgit-Baltistan region. The glacier gives rise to the Shigar River.
2) Batura Glacier
At 53 km in length, the Batura Glacier is up there with the biggest in the world. It lies in the Batura Valley in the Gojal region of Gilgit Baltistan.
3) Biago Glacier
The Biago Glacier is 67kms long and the third biggest land glacier in the entire world. Mango, Baintha and Namla are campsites set up near the glacier and can be accessed through the Askole Village of Gilgit-Baltistan.
4) Panmah Glacier
Located in the Central Karakoram National Park, Gilgit-Baltistan,
5) Rupal Glacier
It is the source of the Rupal River and lies in the Great Himalayas. It is South of the Nanga Parbat and North of Laila Peak.
6) Sarpo Laggo
The glacier flows from Pakistan to China just north of the Baltoro Muztagh Range. It can be reached from the Baltoro Glacier by hiking but the journey is arduous.
7) Biarchedi Glacier
This truly magnificent glacier joins up with the Baltoro Glacier in the North. It lies just a little north east of the Birachedi Peak.
8) Bilafond Glacier
Located in the Siachin region, this glacier is claimed by both Pakistan and India. It is the source of the Saltoro River, a tributary of Shyok River.
9) Godwin-Austen Glacier
It lies close to the K2. The Godwin-Austen glacier joins up with the Baltoro and at this confluence lies the infamous Concordia.
10) Gondogoro Glacier
The Gondogoro is the alternate route to reaching Concordia. It lies in Gilgit-Baltistan and the journey through it is breathtaking.
11) Shani Glacier
The glacier lies in the Naltar Valley just north of Shani Peak. It is ice covered by mud.
12) Abruzzi Glacier
It lies to the North of the Baltoro in Gilgit-Baltistan. It is reachable through Concordia and offers the best views of K2 in all of Pakistan.
13) Hispar Glacier
It is 49 kms long and along with the Biofo forms what is the longest glacial system of the world. The Hispar River rises from this glacier. Hiking on the Hispar is extremely tough and involves a lot of boulder hopping and stream crossing.
14) Hussaini Glacier
The Husseini Glacier is just on top of the Husseini village. The river flowing at the bottom of the picture just south of the village is the Hunza River.
15) Miar Glacier
Located in Nagar, Gilgit, the glacier forms in the north of Miar Peak. A trek along the glacier provides some of the finest views known to mankind.
16) Passu Glacier
Located in the South of Passu, the Passu Peak is nearby as well. The glacier links up with a number of other glaciers in the region and is one of the most remarkable sights in Pakistan.
17) Vigne Glacier
The Vigne glacier also lies in Gilgit, quite near the popular Baltoro and Gondogoro glaciers. To reach the Gondogoro Pass, you must traverse over the Vigne glacier.
The Northern Areas have the largest glaciers outside the polar region including:
|Name of Glaciers||Area (Sq.km)||Length (Km)|
|8.||Khurdupin & Yukshin Garden||135||37|
The Siachen measures approximately 75km in length and 4.8km in width, and rises to about 4,800m. The glacier originates near the Indra Koli Pass on the Pakistan-China border, about 70km southeast of K-2 , the second highest peak in the world. this glacier is discovered in 1907 and is the largest glacier in the world outside the polar regions. This glacier lies in the extreme north-central part of Jammu and Kashmir near the border of India and Tibet, on the north-facing slopes of the Karakoram range. Large tributary glaciers like the Shelkar Chorten and Mamostang feed into the main glacier. The central part of this glacier is a vast snowfield, however, the sides of the glacier are strewn with rocks.
The Rimo glacier consist of three glaciers ( North , Central and South) lies to the east of the Siachen and located at an altitude of between 6,000 and 7000 m above sea level. Between them, these glaciers have almost 700 square kilometers of ice which at places is 100 m deep. Thus the Siachen glacier contains about 2,000 square kilometers of ice surface and almost 200 cubic kilometers of ice. This tract is more or less devoid of a vegetative cover due to its high elevation as well as its latitude. It feeds the Mutzgah or Shaksgam River that flows parallel to the Karakoram range before entering into Tibet.
The Saltoro Pass, also known as Bilafond La (“Pass of the Butterflies”) has a unique history. In early 14th century, it was traversed by the Muslim saint Syed Ali Hamadani, who traveled from Kashmir through Shigar to Kashgar in Central Asia, spreading Islam en route. In the 16th century, a Turkish Sultan, Abu Sayid, invaded Ladakh from China through this pass. Domination of these strategic passes is a key to control the surrounding areas. The Saltoro Range inside Pakistan provides access to Siachen through five passes, i.e., Sia La (7,300m), Bilafond La (6,160m), Gyong La (5,640m), Yarma La (6,100m) and Chulung La (5,800m). These heights and passes, remain snowbound throughout the year.
Both India and Pakistan claim sovereignty over the entire Siachen region
On 7 April 2012, an avalanche hit a Pakistani military camp situated at Giyari Sector in the Siachen region, 30 km west of the Siachen Glacier terminus, burying 129 Pakistani soldiers and 11 civilians.